Kiwi Cafe Review – The First Vegan Cafe in Georgia!

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Saturday evening marked the opening party of the first Vegan cafe in Georgia!

Located on Vertskhili Street, within walking distance of Freedom Square, Kiwi Cafe is hard to miss with a tidy, yellow exterior amidst the crumbling textures of Old Tbilisi.

Shota and I actually popped-in the day before, eager to see what’s going on, where we had a chat with the owners who then invited us to the opening party the following day. They explained to us how it’s a non-profit cafe, and all workers are volunteers who just want to spread some happiness, knowledge and create a welcoming and refreshing place in the center of Tbilisi.

On that first day, they were making food although weren’t technically open, so Shota and I went for the homemade lemonade they suggested, followed by a falafel wrap which we demolished so quickly I couldn’t even snap a photo.

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The lemonade was perfect – so sour and sharp – I’ll try and recreate it and share a recipe with you if I manage to get it!

The falafel was also perfect but, to be honest, I’ve never had bad falafel.

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They served a variety of dishes, some sweet, some savoury. Of course apricots and watermelon since they’re in season now in Georgia, but also some rice with raisins, huge salads, Mexican beans and of course falafel.

It attracted quite a lot of people, a very specific type of people for Tbilisi. You don’t see many hippies wandering around Tbilisi, but they showed up today. Also a lot of foreign people like myself are interested because anything is a welcome break from khinkali.

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We got chatting with a young Russian couple who had only been in Tbilisi for 10 hours, which was fascinating for me. I think this place will become a place for like-minded people to meet and mingle, as well as a place to discuss and work on environmental issues (first campaigning against the return of a zoo in Tbilisi). Oh, and a cafe of course.

I didn’t get a photo of the menu (which changes according to seasonal produce) but there was quite a variety of hot and cold dishes, smoothies, drinks, grains and of course desserts. I’ve been dreaming about the raw cookie since so maybe a trip back there will be necessary this week…

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It was a real community environment, and everyone was so friendly and eager to chat. It’s very refreshing to see in Tbilisi and I can’t wait to see it flourish!

People had guitars and bongos, wine and lemonade. This kind of place needs to exist for the people of Georgia, not just the Vegans or the foreigners. It lends a new way of thinking with more active concern for the environment (which Georgia definitely needs to start appreciating) and also a relaxed and open place for discussion and debate.

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Shota highlighted an interesting point too. Georgia is a very religious country which means a vast majority of people are fasting on and off. You could go to Wendy’s and have a ‘fasting cake’ but it seems to defeat the point… So a Vegan cafe is a great alternative which will not only encourage a healthy lifestyle but also present some new ideas regarding food which will only be a good thing here.

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Make sure to take a stroll around Old Tbilisi too. You can walk around these streets aimlessly and end up at the same spot – don’t fear getting lost in the faded labyrinth like I have for so long! I’ll be spending much more time there, it’s a reminder of what I love about Georgia. Step behind Subway and you’re walking in a forgotten time.

The buildings are cracked, crumbling and faded. Nature has claimed back a few of them, and humans the rest. You can’t hear the chaos of the city in these streets, and will be welcomed by the local cats and fruit sellers as you try to get past your bewilderment.

I’d recommend not walking under balconies, walk in the road instead and look up!

I’ll finish with a few photos:

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I hope you’ve enjoyed! Is there a Vegan cafe in your area? What do you think about banning zoos? It’s something I’m feeling quite passionate about after the flooding here. Have a beautiful day wherever you are!

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16 thoughts on “Kiwi Cafe Review – The First Vegan Cafe in Georgia!

    • itstartedinoxford says:

      I’ve seen very little to inform people of the animals here, I think it’s teaching kids not to treat animals properly :/ Ah of course! Will do my best although have been lazy with food lately where it’s just too warm!

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  1. eilishssimpson says:

    Very inspiring, will have to snap some photos when i visit to use in my writing! Also i’m all for the zoo ban there after what happened with the flooding. If theyäre going to build another zoo then make sure it’s out of the way of water and that the animals are properly cared for with space i think!

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    • itstartedinoxford says:

      Yes come sooooon! I read just now that they’re going to build it again (or plan to) then move it near to where I am even though they definitely can’t afford now so that’s not gonna happen…

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  2. anexactinglife says:

    Nice new restaurant, hipster crowd, LOL! I have mixed feelings about zoos. I think they do make people care passionately about animals, by getting to see and know them. But even the best zoos have deplorable conditions. One I visited had a beautiful plains environment for elephants and giraffes, but when the wallabies needed shelter from the outdoors, they only had a concrete enclosure to escape the rain – it was so depressing.

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    • itstartedinoxford says:

      It was surreal! I completely agree. As a child I was only taken to wildlife parks where they have huge enclosures but that used to upset me as well with the concrete and that the animals looked lonely. I think zoos generally have more cons than pros though, how depressing

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  3. Febry says:

    A “fasting cake”…yeah, that definitely defeats the purpose of fasting. That cafe looks like such a lovely place to just chill and immerse yourself in the people and environment, and I think it’s amazing that it’s non-profit. You’re making me fall in love with Tbilisi quite fast!
    As for banning zoos, I think it all depends on the species and the level of endangerment. Zoos are a great place for injured animals to rehabilitate, given that the zoo takes great care of their animals, so if it’s there to recover before being released back into the wild, I think they’re okay. I’m definitely not okay with animal captivity at all, but if it’s for the well-being of the species like non-profit aquariums or something of that nature, then they’re fine.

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    • itstartedinoxford says:

      Yeah it’s a weird situation… Yes I have high hopes, it’s already popular and very communal, I think it’s just what Tbilisi needs. I’m so glad I’m creating a good impression, I feel like I can be pretty critical but, eh, just being honest I guess.
      That’s a really good point, I definitely saw that near my home in the UK in the wildlife parks. They had ex circus bears in Tbilisi (I can’t even think what’s happened to them now 😦 ) and as much as they weren’t being made to dance around they had small, uncomfortable cages where their only entertainment was climbing on the bars. I agree though, if they do it properly then by all means. Compassion should overcome entertainment/profit!

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  4. philandre says:

    You may not believe it, but I visited Tbilisi (briefly) in 1977, and thought the city then was magic. It must be so much better now, as this post implies. Great post, excellent blog. I’ll be back!

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